Why are people so annoyed by Kanye West's Adidas collection?

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 February, 2015, 6:18am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 April, 2016, 12:55pm

Kanye West has many musical talents, but he also has the knack of self-promotion. This entails entangling himself in one media maelstrom after another. Rarely a month goes by without West hitting the headlines, with the Grammys and his ramblings about "artistry" being the latest.

West has been immersing himself in fashion for some time now, and this has made for big news, too. Now there's a debut collection for Adidas Originals, unveiled to a crowd in New York that included Rihanna and Anna Wintour.

As it comes so close to his outburst at the Grammy's, there will be those who wonder if this is just a timely bit of clever marketing. If so, it was even cleverer that Justin Bieber only made second row at the show.

So what about the actual clothing? Streamlined minimalism is to be expected from West, who is often seen sitting in the front row at Céline's Paris shows.

In nude and earthy shades, West's show evoked an army of sporty, alien-like creatures in the not too distant future.

The styling, and those nude body stockings and caps, brought ballet dancers to mind and satisfied the fashion crowd with a penchant for "directional" and obscure styles that have little relevance to what people will be buying in stores.

The utility features, such as the padded vests, looked almost military, the colours were functional, and some distressed sweatshirts had an interesting slouchy shape.

Many pieces looked indistinct, although some outfits were interesting, in a minimal, austere, alien way. This collection was about basic items, not hero pieces, although the shoes were highly covetable. Models with several different body types stared out with glazed eyes and West came out for his bow.

Critical reviews have been mixed, although there's been a fair amount of public hate expressed online. Is he deserving of all this scorn? And might it be more irritation at his outbursts than the collection's actual design, which is neither distinctive nor really offensive.

It's difficult for audiences to divorce the clothing from the man's public persona, but then that's precisely why brands collaborate with big stars. Still, sales will hardly suffer - West's following is massive, and Adidas are no fools, either.

For all those that blindly follow celebrity "designers", there are other consumers who just get angry. Lindsay Lohan's stint at Ungaro was one example of disastrous failure.

Kanye the designer emerged a few years ago, when he launched his eponymous label at Paris Fashion Week to a mixed response. The haughty centre of European fashion wasn't ready to accept West into the fold as a designer, although fine with him as front row media fodder.

If all publicity is good publicity, then West has already won anyway. That's if we're counting online posts, clicks and column inches. It's not the first time either. West's collaboration with Paris label A.P.C. was a stellar success, with denims, bomber jackets and fur-lined khaki green parkas being praised for design. They sold well, too.

West's love of designers such as Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy and Donatella Versace is also well documented - as are his own daring fashion choices (remember the Givenchy kilt he wore onstage?). The rapper is a regular on Paris Fashion Week front rows.

Now with his reality star wife Kim Kardashian, daughter North, and Kardashian's family in tow, the media scrum around him has intensified.

West might seem farcical to some in the high fashion world, but the reality is that the American star draws eyeballs.

Like it or not, we will see a lot more of him in fashion.